Home  →  COCO- People. Retaining Your Most Valuable Asset


Relevant as of 1:00PM 5 March 2021


As announced at the Budget on 3 March, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until 30 September.

For periods ending on or before 30 April 2021, you can claim for employees who were employed on 30 October 2020, as long as you have made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between the 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020. For periods starting on or after 1 May 2021, you can claim for employees who were employed on 2 March 2021, as long as you have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021.

Employers will once again be asked to contribute towards the scheme from 1 July 2021, where they will contribute 10% of usual wages. For August and September, this will increase to 20%. The employee will still receive 80% of their usual wages for hours not worked, throughout the life of the scheme (subject to the £2,500 cap per month).

Remember, claims for each month end must be made by the 14th of the following month (or the 15th or 16th where the 14th falls on a weekend).

HMRC may accept a claim made after the deadline if you had a reasonable excuse. They have given examples of what would constitute a reasonable excuse here. HMRC will not consider reasonable excuses in advance of a claim deadline.

You can claim before, during or after you process your payroll, just make sure you are certain about the number of hours worked by your employees. HMRC have explained these rules through pictures which can be found on their website here.

Also make sure you are agreeing changes to working hours with the relevant employees, and that a record of this is kept on their file for at least 5 years. HMRC have said that where consistent with employment law, any furlough agreement made retrospectively that has effect from 1 November 2020 will be valid for CJRS purposes.

However, only retrospective agreements put in place up to and including the 13 November 2020 may be relied on for the purposes of a claim being made from 1 – 12 November.If you furlough staff from 13 November onwards, the agreement can be dated later but it must be before the date they are furloughed.

The government has also announced that employees who were employed and on the payroll on 23 September 2020 who were made redundant or stopped working afterwards can be re-employed and claimed for. The employer must have made an RTI submission to HMRC from 20 March 2020 to 23 September 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for those employees.

Don’t forget the other support that is available:

  • Kickstart Scheme – £2bn has been promised to this new scheme, which will fund the first 6 months of work placements. It will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week; employers can top this up if they want to. The scheme is available for high quality work placements, given to people aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit and deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment. Itwill run to December 2021 (but could be extended). Initially, companies were required to have a minimum of 30 job placements in order to access the scheme, but this has now been scrapped, allowing more businesses to apply.Organisations interested can read the latest guidance HERE.
  • Traineeships – high-quality work placements and training for 16-24 year olds will be funded by the government. Rishi pledged £111m, which is enough to triple participation in traineeships. For the first time ever, the government will fund employers who provide trainees with work experience, at a rate of £1,000 per trainee. We understand this grant will be capped at 10 jobs per firm. You can find out what the government means by “traineeships” here.
  • Apprenticeships – from 1st August 2020 to 31st March 2021, the government will pay employers in England £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and £1,500 for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the government already provides for certain apprentices. Read more here.
  • Also announced at the 2021 Budget – Employers who hire a new apprentice between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021 will receive £3,000 per new hire.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. For businesses across all sectors, there’s been no hotter topic since March 2020.


If you used HMRC’s online calculator before 21 January to work out your January CJRS claim, there may be a mistake in the figures. Unfortunately, HMRC found a glitch in their system, which has now been rectified. For furloughed employees that are not on a fixed salary, the system was using pay for January 2019 as reference pay, instead of 2020. If you think you’re affected, check if your employees’ pay was different in January 2019 to January 2020. You may need to re-run the calculations. If too much has been claimed, you can either amend the next claim to compensate or let HMRC know as soon as possible and make a repayment. If too little has been claimed, call the helpline (0800 024 1222) to amend by 1 March. 

Linking to this, make sure that when you calculate claims for March and April 2021, you compare the employees’ pay to the same period in 2019, not 2020. We know this can get confusing – contact our Covid Taskforce if you need any help. 

After the news of the third national lockdown in January 2021, HMRC have updated their guidance on who can be furloughed. Employees are eligible to be included in the scheme, if they:

  • are clinically extremely vulnerable, or at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus and are following public health guidance
  • have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19), such as caring for children who are at home, due to schools and childcare facilities closing, or caring for a vulnerable individual in their household

Given all of the changes to the guidance you may find you’ve overclaimed through the CJRS, and if this is the case you must notify HMRC and repay the excess within 30 90 days of receipt. Read more here:

If you have underclaimed, you will only be able to increase the amount if you amend the claim within 28 calendar days after the month the claim relates to (unless this falls on a weekend or a bank holiday, it would then be the next working day).

We’re seeing lots of queries about how to calculate flexible furlough claims. We’ve provided lots of details below, but the important point is that claims must be calculated by looking the HOURS worked by employees (not days). You can read more here.



20 April 2020  Scheme went live
10 June 2020 Latest date by which employees must be furloughed for the first time to qualify under the scheme post 30 June 2020.
1 July 2020 New rules introduced including flexible furloughing (see below)
31 July 2020 Deadline for making claims for periods up to 30 June 2020.
1 August 2020 Can no longer claim for National Insurance or pension contributions under the scheme.
1 September 2020 Maximum wages grant reduces to 70% (subject to a cap of £2,187.50*).
1 October 2020 Maximum wages grant reduces to 60% (subject to a cap of £1,875*).
18 December 2020 Scheme extended until 30 April 2021
3 March 2021 Scheme extended until 30 September 2021
1 July 2021 70% (subject to a cap of £2,187.50*).
1 August 2021 Maximum wages grant reduces to 60% (subject to a cap of £1,875*).


* To be reduced proportional to the hours worked under flexible furloughing.


From December 2020, HMRC will publish the following details of employers who have made claims under the scheme for the month of December onwards: 

  • the employer name 
  • an indication of the value of the claim 
  • the company number for companies and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) 

You can see the first of these releases here.

Furloughed employees will also be able to see information about claims made for themfrom 1 December 2020, in their Personal Tax Account on GOV.UK. 

HMRC will not publish details of employers claiming through the scheme if you can show that publicising these would result in a serious risk of violence or intimidation to certain individuals, or any individual living with them. 

Those individuals include: 

  • employers that are individuals – a relevant individual can be the employer themselves, or any employee of the employer 
  • employers that are companies – a relevant individual can be a director, officer or employee of that company 
  • employers that are partnerships – a relevant individual can be a partner, officer or employee of that partnership 
  • employers that are limited liability partnerships – a relevant individual can be a member or employee of that limited liability partnership 
  • trustees of a trust – a relevant individual can be a settlor, trustee or beneficiary of the trust 

If you are an employer and think that a serious risk of violence or intimidation will come from publicising your name, company registration number and amount of claim, you will need to tell HMRC and provide evidence of why you think this. 

This evidence could include: 

  • a police incident number if you’ve been threatened or attacked 
  • documentary evidence of a threat or attack, such as photos or recordings 
  • evidence of possible disruption or targeting 

Further details on how to request that HMRC do not publish your details can be found here.

It was also announced at the Budget that £100 million is being invested to create a Taxpayer Protection Taskforce to crack-down on fraudulent exploitation of COVID-19 Government support packages, including the CJRS.


What you can claim will depend on what period you are claiming for.  A useful starting point is HMRC’s step-by-step guide for found here,  and the online calculator found here.

Periods up to and including 30 June 2020

The scheme will cover 80% of monthly wages for employees who are furloughed due to coronavirus, up to a ceiling of £2,500 (gross) per employee.

Employer’s national insurance costs (up to a maximum of 13.8% of the monthly wage that is claimable under the scheme) and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions payable are also covered, in addition to the £2,500 limit.

HMRC guidance was updated on 22 May to state that the National Insurance claim for each furloughed employee could not exceed 13.8% of the wages claimable for them under the scheme; this point was not previously mentioned in the guidance.

For employees who are paid a regular amount, the monthly wage figure for which the 80% applies is their actual gross salary, as in their last pay period prior to 19 March 2020. Previous guidance had a date of 28 February 2020 and if you’ve already calculated your claim based on the employee’s salary as at 28 February and the calculation differs you can choose which one you use.

For employees who are paid variable amounts, there are a couple of calculations you will need to compare. HMRC’s details about this can be read here.  There are also extra complications involved in the calculations where employees are part of a salary sacrifice scheme.

If you are eligible to claim the Employment Allowance this will result in you paying less employer’s National Insurance contributions.

When calculating the amount of National Insurance contributions that can be claimed back under the Job Retention Scheme you will need to deduct any Employment Allowance you have used in that period.

If this results in you having no employer National Insurance contributions in the pay period, you should not make a claim for a rebate via the Job Retention Scheme.

If the amount of Employment Allowance you claim does not fully cover your employer National Insurance contributions for the pay period, you can claim the lower of the following via the Job Retention Scheme:

  • the grant towards employer National Insurance costs as calculated under the scheme rules, and
  • the employer National Insurance costs that you have paid, or expect to pay, across your entire payroll

Periods from 1 July to 31 July 2020

If you furlough an employee for the whole of July, then the claim is calculated in same way as claim for a period prior to 30 June 2020 (see above).

However, if you have brought back an employee to work some of their normal hours, and have furloughed them for the rest, then you will need to calculate your claim as follows.

Step 1 – work out 80% of your employee’s usual wages:

This varies depending on whether they are on a fixed salary, was not paid for a full pay period up to 19 March 2020 or their pay varies.  This is calculated using the same method as used for claim periods prior to 1 July.

Step 2 – work out the employee’s minimum furlough pay:

  1. Start with the lower of 80% of their usual wages (see Step 1) and the maximum wage amount.
  2. Multiply by the employee’s furloughed hours.
  3. Divide by the employee’s usual hours.

For July this is the amount that can be claimed under the CJRS.

HMRC’s guidance includes a worked example HERE.

You will need to pay your employee at their full rate for any hours they actually work during the claim period, or for any furloughed hours during which they take paid leave.  As before, you can also decide to top up the employee’s furlough pay above the amount claimable under the CJRS.

Calculating your employer’s National Insurance claim under the CJRS.

The calculation of the employer’s National Insurance Contributions (NICs) that can be claimed under the CJRS is different to those for periods prior to 1 July 2020. Remember that no grant can be claimed to cover employer’s National Insurance for periods from 1 August 2020.

Step 1 – adjust the amount of the relevant secondary threshold:

  1. Start with the relevant secondary threshold (£169 pw, £732 pm or £8,788 pa)
  2. Divide by the number of days in the pay period.
  3. Multiply by the number of days in the furlough or flexible furlough claim.
  4. If the employee is flexibly furloughed, then divide by the number of usual hours in the claim period and multiply by the furloughed hours during this period.

Step 2 – calculate the NICs that can be claimed under the CJRS:

  1. Take the amount you have calculated that you can claim for the employee’s wages.
  2. Deduct the relevant adjusted secondary NICs threshold (see Step 1).
  3. Multiply by 13.8%.

As before, if you claim Employment Allowance for the period, this may limit the overall NICs you can claim under the CJRS (see above for further details).

HMRC’s guidance includes a worked example HERE.

Calculating your claim under the CJRS for employer’s pension contributions.

In order to accommodate the flexible furloughing arrangements, the way in which the claim for employer pension contributions is different for the period 1 July to 31 July 2020 than it was for prior periods. Remember that no grant can be claimed to cover employer’s pension contributions for periods from 1 August 2020.

Step 1 – calculate the adjusted Lower Level of Qualifying Earnings (LLQE):

  1. Take the relevant LLQE that corresponds to the pay period (£120 pw, £520 pm or £6,240 pa).
  2. Divide by the number of days in the pay period.
  3. Multiply by the number of days in the furlough or flexible furlough period.
  4. If the employee is flexibly furloughed, then divide by the number of usual hours in the claim period and multiply by the furloughed hours during this period.

Step 2 – calculate the pension contributions that can be claimed under the CJRS:

  1. Take the amount you have calculated that you can claim for the employee’s wages.
  2. Deduct the relevant adjusted LLQE (see Step 1).
  3. Multiply by 3%.

You must not claim more towards pension contributions for an employee than you have paid into their pension for the claim period.

Again, HMRC’s guidance contains some worked examples HERE.

Periods from 1 August to 31 August 2020

The claim for employee’s wages under the CJRS is calculated in the same way as for the period 1 July 2020 to 31 July 2020 (see above).

However, there is no claim possible for employers’ NICs or pension contributions for this period.

Periods from 1 September to 30 September 2020

The scheme will cover 70% of monthly wages for employees who are furloughed due to coronavirus, up to a ceiling of £2,187.50 (gross) per employee.

This is calculated as follows:

  1. Start with the minimum furlough pay (calculated in the same was as for July and August).
  2. Divide by 80.
  3. Multiply by 70.

In order to be able to claim, the employee must still continue to receive 80% of their monthly wages meaning the employer will have to pay a minimum of 10% (along with any wages at the full rate for non-furloughed periods).

Again, there will be no ability to make a claim for National Insurance and pension contributions.

Periods from 1 October to 31 October 2020

The scheme will cover 60% of monthly wages for employees who are furloughed due to coronavirus, up to a ceiling of £1,875 (gross) per employee.

This is calculated as follows:

  1. Start with the minimum furlough pay (calculated in the same was as for July and August).
  2. Divide by 80.
  3. Multiply by 60.

Again, in order to be able to claim, the employee must still continue to receive 80% of their monthly wages meaning the employer will have to pay a minimum of 20% (along with any wages at the full rate for non-furloughed periods).

There will be no ability to make a claim for National Insurance and pension contributions.

Periods from 1 November

More employees could now be eligible to be furloughed under the extended scheme. To be included on a claim up to 30 April 2021, they must have been included on a payroll RTI submission that was made between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020. To be included on a claim from 1 May 2021, the key RTI submission date is 2 March 2021.

Employers can furlough employees for any amount of time and any work pattern, while still being able to claim the grant for the hours not worked. There is no minimum furlough period.

The government is once again contributing 80% of employees’ wages for hours not worked (up to a cap of £2,500 per employee per month), with no requirement for the employer to make a contribution other than for national insurance and pension payments. The £2,500 cap is reduced pro rata where employees work some of their usual hours.

Employers will need to pay employees their full rate for any hours they actually work during the claim period, or for any furloughed hours during which they take paid leave. They must also make sure that all amounts claimed through the CJRS are paid to their employees. No deduction can be made for salary sacrifice arrangements from amounts claimed.

If you are claiming for employees that were furloughed before 31 October, their wage calculations will be the same as before and will be based on their earnings before 19 March. For employees being furloughed for the first time from 1 November, you will need to calculate their furlough pay based on their earnings before 30 October. There are lots of examples on how to calculate this here.

Periods from 1 July to 31 July 2021

The scheme will cover 70% of monthly wages for employees who are furloughed due to coronavirus, up to a ceiling of £2,187.50 (gross) per employee.

Periods from 1 August 2021 to 30 September 2021

The scheme will cover 60% of monthly wages for employees who are furloughed due to coronavirus, up to a ceiling of £1,875 (gross) per employee.

Summary of possible claims

Up To 31 July 2020 August 2020 September 2020 October 2020 November 2020 July 2021 August & September 2021
Government contribution to wages* 80% up to £2,500. 80% up to £2,500. 70% up to £2,187.50. 60% up to  £1,875. 80% up to £2,500 70% up to £2,187.50. 60% up to £1,875.
Government contribution to NI and pension contributions Yes No No No No No No
Minimum employer contribution to wages 0% 0% 10% 20% 0% 10% 20%


*Cap will be proportionately reduced where employee has returned to work part-time under the flexible furloughing arrangements.


HMRC have requested agents to support businesses with claims and our COVID –19 taskforce continues to prepare, review and submit furlough claims. The feedback is that employers’ NI is often being miscalculated, particularly where employers are topping up pay. Salary sacrifice is another area causing challenges.

Claims for periods from 1 July 2020 are even more complex, particularly if you bring employees back part time under the flexible furloughing arrangements.

For peace of mind, we can review your claim or the claim for a sample of your employees. Contact us to discuss our services.


HMRC have confirmed that employees can take holiday whilst on furlough. Working Time Regulations require holiday pay to be paid at the employee’s normal rate of pay or, where the rate of pay varies, calculated on the basis of the average pay received by the employee in the previous 52 working weeks.

Therefore, if a furloughed employee takes holiday, the employer will be obliged to pay additional amounts over the grant. The employer will have the flexibility to restrict when leave can be taken if there is a business need, both during the furlough period and the subsequent recovery period.

HMRC have confirmed if an employee usually works bank holidays then the employer can agree that this is included in the grant payment. If the employee usually takes the bank holidays as leave, then the employer either needs to top up their usual holiday pay or give the employee a day of holiday in lieu.

You can read more about holidays and furlough here.


HMRC have confirmed that office holders can be included in the scheme. The same rules surrounding the amount that can be claimed, as covered above, will apply. Therefore, office holders must have been receiving a salary through the company’s PAYE scheme at 19 March 2020 (or 30 October 2020 for new claims starting from 1 November, or 2 March 2021 for new claims starting from 1 May) in order to be eligible. Dividends cannot be included in the amount claimed.

Company secretaries and non-executive directors can be furloughed by agreement between the office holder and the company.  However, where company directors are being furloughed, the decision should be formally adopted. We would recommend board minutes are drawn up to document this, as well as confirmation in writing to the director(s) affected.

Furloughed directors should ensure they are not doing work that would generate commercial revenue or provides services to or on behalf of their company. Whilst HMRC have accepted that furloughed directors can still carry out their legal duties of filing accounts or providing information relating to the administration of the company, the scope of what they can do is very limited. The Institute of Directors is calling for further clarification.


In order to remain eligible for the grant, employers must agree with their employee their new flexible working arrangements and confirm this agreement in writing.

Employers will be able claim the grant for the hours the employees are not working calculated by reference to the employees normal working hours in a claim period.

For worked hours, employees will be paid by their employer under the terms of their employment contract and under the operation of PAYE and NIC.


Claims need to be made by the business or an agent that is authorised to act on your behalf for PAYE matters. File only agents (e.g Payroll Bureaus) will not be able to access the system for data protection reasons.

Businesses will need the following information to claim:

  • Your Government Gateway (GG) ID and password
  • Your employer PAYE reference number. You need to be registered for PAYE online

The following information for each furloughed employee you will be claiming for:

  • National Insurance Number
  • Claim period – the important thing being you cannot claim for the same period twice. Claims must be made for a minimum period of 7 days, unless you need to shorten it to tie in with the month end. So, if you run your payroll weekly it makes sense to set the claim period as a week; if you run your payroll monthly then the claim period could be a month. See our note below for those of you who run both weekly and monthly payrolls.
  • Claim amount. For employees that are flexibly furloughed, you will also need to provide the number of hours they usually work and the number of hours they have actually worked in the claim period.
  • PAYE/ Payroll works number for the employee (optional).
  • If you are claiming for less than 100 employees, you will need to provide the individual names and NI numbers for each furloughed employee, and the total figures you are claiming for salary.
  • Those of you who have furloughed 100 or more employees will need to upload a file containing each employee’s name, NI number, furlough start and end dates and the amount claimed. HMRC will accept the following file types: .xls .xlsx .csv .ods. You should submit one line per employee for the whole period. Make sure you don’t put any more information in than needed, otherwise you risk delaying your payment. You can find a link to a template that can be used for this, here.
  • Your bank account number and sort code – make sure your bank account will accept BACS payments.
  • Your contact name and phone number (or agent details if they are making the claim for you)

If you have weekly and monthly paid employees on the same PAYE reference, you will need to take care when setting a claim period because you can only make one claim per period. You will therefore need to adjust some of your figures to match the period you are claiming for. For example, if you are making a claim for your monthly paid staff for the calendar month of April, you will need to align the weekly paid staffs’ figures to the same period. This is likely to involve reducing the claim pro rata for the final week of April.

If your weekly and monthly payrolls are run through different PAYE references, then this will be more straightforward as separate claims can be made for each.

The timing of receiving the grant is 6 working days from making the claim which may not align with the payroll cost so it is worth thinking about the cashflow impact. If you need our help making the claim get in touch here or speak to your usual CP contact.

In the meantime, you should pay your furloughed employees at least 80% of their regular wage for hours not worked (see details above), or £2,500 per month if this is lower. This should be processed through your payroll as usual.

You can choose to top up your employees’ salary beyond this, but you are not able to reclaim anything further under the scheme.

Based on the example in HMRC’s step by step guide, a furloughed employee’s wages should be calculated on a daily rate using calendar days in the month, regardless of whether the employee would usually work on that day (for example weekends). You can use HMRC’s online calculator to assist with your calculations.


There has been a lot of industry commentary around the impact of furloughing EMI (Enterprise Management Incentive) option holders.

One of the conditions that must be met to qualify for the beneficial tax treatment of EMI schemes is that employees must commit at least 25 hours a week to the company (or at least 75% of their total working time, if less).

If this condition ceases to be met, there will be a disqualifying event which means the options would need to be exercised within 90 days, otherwise the tax benefits of EMI options and shares will be lost. This will also lead to the options lapsing in the majority of cases.

Due to the above there was concern that furloughing an employee with EMI options could cause such a disqualifying event for them. However, this assessment was open to interpretation and thankfully HMRC have now included additional clauses in the Finance Bill to clarify that a disqualifying event does not occur as a result of an individual taking leave, being furloughed or working reduced hours because of Covid-19.


We recommend planning and thinking about which of your people you will need to continue to run your business in the short term and those which can be ‘furloughed’ to secure their jobs and the future of your business.

This should also take into account the fact that you can now bring back employees part time.

You should have notified any employees you are including in the scheme and obtain their written agreement to being furloughed. This agreement, along with all other documentation in relation to the furloughing of employees, should then be retained on their HR files for at least five years.

You will also need to consider the employment law position, if you don’t have a specialist employment  lawyer who can help, get in touch  and we may be able to point you in the right direction.


Further details on the scheme can be found here. HMRC have also recently published detailed guidance on how furlough pay interacts with calculating other statutory payments for individuals, such as maternity, paternity and adoption pay. These can be found on the gov.uk website.

The Chancellor published on 22 May 2020 an updated direction in relation to the Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme.  The updated direction includes much greater detail on the legal documentation that must be in place for somebody to be furloughed and what activities they can undertake during this period.

In particular, the new direction specifically allows for a furloughed Director to claim under the Job Retention Scheme for the employees of their company, as well as to make wage and salary payments for the company.  There is also much more clarity on the conditions that need to be met for a claim to be valid where there has been a transfer of employees and consequently a change in the payroll scheme.

The new direction can be found HERE.


It was announced in the Spending Review on 25 November 2020 that the National Living Wage will increase from April 2021, as follows: 

  • For those aged 23 and over, increased by 2.2% from £8.72 to £8.91 per hour 
  • For those aged 21 to 22, increased by 2% cent from £8.20 to £8.36 per hour 
  • For those aged 18 to 20, increased by 1.7% from £6.45 to £6.56 per hour 
  • For those aged 16 to 17, increased by 1.5% from £4.55 to £4.62 per hour 
  • For apprentices, increased by 3.6% from £4.15 to £4.30 per hour. 

Where non-furloughed employees have agreed to a temporary reduction in their pay to support the business, the government has clarified HERE what documentation you should have in place.  It’s crucial to get the timing of your agreement spot on to avoid the employee still being subject to income tax and National Insurance on the waived pay.

Where employees will be receiving reduced pay due to being furloughed, they will need to consider if this makes them eligible to claim any benefits from the government. This could include child benefit, particularly where an employees’ usual salary takes them over the £50,000 threshold but their taxable income for the tax year will now be below this. You could point your employees here for more information on this and other things they may wish to consider if they are being furloughed.

For employers, there are also some things worth considering in relation to your employee benefits. For example, you may provide company cars that are no longer being driven. It’s worth thinking about your policy. Here’s some guidance from HMRC on the benefit in kind implications at gov.uk.

The government is introducing a year-long exemption (16 March 2020 – 5 April 2021), allowing employers to reimburse employees for home office equipment purchased to enable them to work from home without having to pay tax or NIC. Announced at the 2021 Budget was an extension to this exemption for the 2021/22 tax year. To qualify for the exemption, the office equipment must have been purchased for the “sole purpose of enabling the employee to work from home as a result of coronavirus” (so is subject to the proviso that private use is not significant). This could include: computer equipment, office furniture or internet access, for example.

You might also not be aware that you can pay your employees up to £6 a week for the additional household expenses incurred as a result of your employee working from home (£4 a week before 6 April 2020). This is non-taxable and can help cover additional expenses like electricity, heating, broadband without needing a receipt.

If it is not your policy to pay these expenses for employees working from home, they can claim for the £6 per week as a tax deduction instead. They can do this for the whole tax year 2020-21, even if they only worked from home for part of that year. They can make this claim online, via their personal tax account on the gov.uk website.

It’s worth knowing that temporary changes have been made to the qualifying criteria for Tax-free childcare and 30 hours free childcare during the COVID-19 crisis. These changes may impact your employees including those on furlough as well as other categories including those not able to work or those working less. Further details can be found here.

Reporting employees’ wages to HMRC when you’ve claimed through the CJRS

The reporting requirements under the PAYE Real Time Information system will depend on whether you are using the grant to:

  • Pay wages
  • Reimburse wages already paid
  • You have not paid your employees’ wages yet

Detailed guidance can be found HERE.


We suggest keeping the grant received from HMRC, which is taxable, separate in your accounts and ideally in its own nominal code.  This will allow transparency for any questions or reconciliations should HMRC audit these claims.


We consider the CJRS will go a long way in providing financial security for your employees. It means your business can focus on keeping going during these difficult times and hitting the ground running when things pick up again.

If you need help or have queries about the coronavirus job retention scheme, then get in touch with Mark Baxter.


The government will repay certain employers (those with less than 250 employees on 28 February 2020) for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid to employees as a result of COVID-19 who cannot work because they either have coronavirus, are self-isolating or are shielding in line with public health guidance. These employees do not need to have a doctor’s fit note in order for you to claim. We’ve asked HMRC about how the 250 employee limit works for group companies.  HMRC confirmed that the 250 employee limit applies per PAYE scheme rather than per group and if each company in a group uses a different PAYE reference, the number of employees across the group do not need to be aggregated.

The repayment will cover periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020, for up to two weeks. Records including the national insurance numbers of the affected employees, the reason they could not work and the relevant dates of sick leave, should be kept for at least three years following a claim.

The online repayment system went live on 26 May 2020 to enable employers to make their claim – check out all the details here.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with our COVID-19 Task Force here